Comment: ‘Not right to cut back on road repairs’

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Increasing the amount of money the city council spends on promoting cycling is definitely a good thing.

Doing this by cutting back the budget for fixing potholed roads is most definitely not.

Today we report how more than £1 million is to be reallocated from the road repair budget to be spent purely on cycling projects such as new bike lanes.

It is sure to be a controversial move as few issues prove as divisive as the apparent ongoing motorist versus cyclist debate.

In truth, whether on four wheels or two, everyone in the city wants the same thing.

That is safe and well maintained roads, not pothole-ridden obstacle courses.

Far from being rival factions, a huge number of car drivers will be cyclists on a different day and vice versa, and therefore more than able to appreciate the needs of each.

For Edinburgh to meet its ambitious and admirable cycling targets, everyone accepts there needs to be investment.

But if cutting desperately needed road repairs is the only way of achieving that then the time has come to say we cannot afford that investment right now.

If there is one thing that we have learned about our roads in recent years it is that sustained investment is needed. Anything less is a false economy which will come back to bite road users.

The evidence that there is still much work to do to bring city streets up to scratch is obvious to anyone driving round the city.

Poor roads are not just an annoyance to all except garages owners, they can have a serious economic impact on business.

With winter to come, the list of repairs for the city council’s pothole crews is only set to grow.

Brand new cycle lanes will be great but utterly pointless if the roads they are painted on are falling apart.

Yes, investment in cycling is badly needed, but let’s get the basics right first.